I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different. 
– Kurt Vonnegut

One of the mixed blessings of small business is the necessity of managing the paperwork. Today was one of those days that was all about the unglamorous – trust me- details of entrepreneurship. So, as the sun was setting on one of the loveliest October afternoons ever I found myself trotting to the mailbox to keep my assorted masters, er, business partners satisfied.

It was then when I recalled the Vonnegut quote.  It’s one of my favorites.  It’s taken slightly out of context as it describes how he whiled away some time running errands that seemed frivolous to his spouse.  Even though my companion E assures me that the world is becoming ever more digitized (she should know) I still pay many of my bills the old fashioned way.  What can I say?  I like buying stamps – they have pretty pictures on them.

But Uncle Kurt’s words resonate on a beautiful day like today.  Look at all that I would have missed if I’d let my fingers do the walking on a keyboard:  I would have missed that glorious five o’clock sun,  and the southerly breeze that still held a hint of summer.  I would have missed walking (in sandal clad feet, no less) through piles of cocoa-colored dry leaves that had been pulverized nearly into powder by countless pedestrians on Lake Street.

As my feet led me back from the blue mailbox, I wandered into the library, where I admired tables full of books with orange jackets – in celebration of the Halloween season.  And later I noticed that the local White Ash trees are losing their purple and yellow leaves quickly, and in unison.  And I saw a couple of squirrels, too – let’s not forget them.

Maybe in these fast-paced times I shouldn’t admit that I enjoy sauntering to the mailbox.  I have a nagging fear that admission will mark me in some unflattering way.  After all, I’ve seen people on the television who do a little dance after they visit the ATM, so who am I to slow things down?  I know that society will ultimately trample characters like me – but really, you should have seen all of those orange books lined up.  I think you’d understand.    

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Dave Coulter

I have been a horticulturist for thirty years working in the Chicago area and beyond. I have lived in Oak Park for over thirteen years. My writing has recently appeared in the journal Ecological Restoration...